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SALFORD COUNCIL SPENDS THOUSANDS OF POUNDS ON SMART PHONES AND TRAINING
 

Star date: 11th July 2012

NEVER MIND THE CUTS – SALFORD COUNCIL SPENDS THOUSANDS ON NEW PHONES

Despite making £24million of cuts this year, Salford Council has forked out thousands of pounds equipping hundreds of social services staff with new Nokia I-Phones, and pulling them away from their jobs to attend half day training workshops covering subjects like how to switch on the phones. But not how to switch the sound off during meetings.

One social worker told the Salford Star "I can contact people with my new phone, just like I could with my old phone – except that it's cost the authority slightly more…"

Full story here…


Salford City Council has handed out hundreds of new Nokia smart phones to social workers, support staff and senior managers within its Social Services department, and run half day training workshops in how to use them - with the total cost of equipment and staff hours running into thousands of pounds.

"Every social worker in Salford has been given a new Nokia to replace their old phone which is worth, I think, between £200 and £300" a social worker told the Salford Star "I had to do a half day's training on this phone to know how it works which took me away from my job for half a day. And I learned how to switch it on, but not, unfortunately, how to turn the sound off, so every meeting I go in I have to explain that.

"It's a training issue that I should be bringing up, that they never told us how to switch the sound off during the three and a half hours training" the Council worker  added "If people knew how to use a smart phone they could leave after half an hour but I stayed for the whole session. I learned how to programme it, how to do messaging and access my e-mails, although it only has a history of around six days. And you can't actually make the characters on the screen any bigger, so anyone with sight difficulties can't actually read any emails or messages.

"They also advised us that it would be nice if we could use the Council's magenta on the screen but I've gone for a purple as I found that I couldn't actually read anything if it was magenta" the worker explained "It does have some nice features though. It's got a camera, access to the internet and some nice games, like Angry Birds, if I want to play on it. It's also made it a lot easier for the authority to know where I am because it's got a location finder on it.

"I'd say that's it's definitely helped me with my job. I can contact people with my new phone, just like I could with my old phone - except that it's cost the authority slightly more…"

Thousand and thousands of pounds more…

Stephen Morris wrote
at 22:28:20 on 05 August 2012
Salford’s Councils waste of taxpayer’s money holds no bounds as they look to issues soon to be obsolete Nokia phone systems to staff; this will cost Salford tax payers £ 1,000s more than the initial purchase. The lack of industry knowledge by Salford Council will lead to increased costs which will have to be paid for by Salford’s Taxpayers. The phones that they have ordered will come with windows 7.5 operating system, this will soon have an upgrade to 7.8, however by the end of the year the new windows 8 operating system will be available and applications on windows 7.5/.8 systems are incompatible with new system. Lets also look at Nokia systems, their failure rate within the 2yr warranty period is approx 20%, 10 times higher than many other manufacturers, that’s 1 in 5 will fail within 2 years, even under warranty if they are to be replaced this will be with a new phone and the new windows 8, no problem with that if you are an individual but as a business this would be very concerning with the new windows 8 system making it incompatible with the windows 7.5/.8 system and Salford Councils computer system that would have been loaded to work with windows 7.5/.8 systems. Also Nokia’s credit rating has just been listed at “Junk” status by Moody’s after making £1.3 billon loss in the first quarter of this year, more than its entire loss for last year. No normal business would contemplate such an expenditure, but as Salford council is spending other people’s money “(Taxpayers) they don’t seem to concerned about the impending changes and costs to taxpayers'
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 22:02:12 on 18 July 2012
Ian - if someone is having difficulty turning volume down on a smartphone, it's easy enough to predict that it will be impossible for them to keep their phone properly secure. It therefore can't be that long before some of their newly mobile 'troubled family' data will be in the wrong hands (and I don't mean G4S). No point me sending in an FOI, I know I'm right :)
 
Ian OBrien wrote
at 20:26:19 on 18 July 2012
There is no possible good reason why these phones have been issued, other than that somebody has done a deal with somebody else. Being that I use a Desire HD, which is a far more advanced phone than this badly selling, let down of a handset, I can safely say that it is pointless. My phone has a much larger screen than these and still I would never dream of using it to create a document or spreadsheet. Yes, there are apps available for these things, but it is next to useless to try and do any real work using a hand held device. So, what else could there be which would lend a point to this? Well, you can send and receive emails. Great. You can do that on a £45 touch screen phone. You can actually do that on an old nokia. There is zero point to this other than some back room deal being done. I want to know who carried out the training and how much did it cost? No doubt a FOI request could go in, but knowing salford council it would be delayed until the story was no longer relevant. Still, I say go for it SS!
 
youravinalaugh wrote
at 04:15:01 on 18 July 2012
maybe the whining individual who has been quoted in this article could read the manual. "i need training" What? to turn the sound off. If you cant figure that out you should absolutely not be working for social services
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 19:29:04 on 14 July 2012
@Call Yourselves Jouranalists - the cost for a Nokia Lumia of the type pictured is around £160. This is just a small part of the actual cost because they are essentially small computers, not just mobile phones. As with any computer, they will have email, spreadsheets, documents, images, etc, on them. Now, keeping in mind the type of work that social workers do, some of these documents could be *very sensitive*. This means that the council will have to spend a good deal of money making sure that these 'small computers' are securely used, backed up, have IT support, encrypted, passworded, have policies and procedures written, Data Protection training, etc, etc. As a rule of thumb, the true cost will therefore be around 3x the cost, so £500 per annum would be about right. More importantly, if the council doesn't properly train, encrypt, secure, backup, etc and, for example, sensitive case notes get into the wrong hands, they will be fined up to £500,000 (yep, half a million quid) by the Information Commissioner's Office. *** AND IF SALFORD COUNCIL'S RECENT RECORD IS ANYTHING TO GO OFF, THIS WLL BE JUST A MATTER OF TIME ***
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 06:27:23 on 14 July 2012
Wow you ruffled a few council feathers there. If the phones were "obtained on a council contract" they probably cost the city £500 each. As for half a days training, they could try reading the manual. No that would be too easy.
 
Mrs Common Sense wrote
at 22:37:16 on 13 July 2012
Mr Common Sense, not to be confused with Miss Common Sense or related to Mr Common Sense,however I accept the sentiment that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, for the record, I do not work at the council.
 
Call yourselves journalists? wrote
at 16:17:16 on 13 July 2012
Sureley these phones were obtained on a council contract and therefore would not have cost £200. Basing your "facts" on what one social worker thought they cost seems like something I might have done writing articles for my primary school's newsletter back when I was 8. Also, the smartphones have probably been given out to provide connectivity that could not be obtained via a regular phone and will save money by reducing unecessary trips to the office and probably also provides a high level of security in the event the phone is stolen. The GPS function must be helping protect staff too from the local Salford unsavouries some of these staff must visit.
 
Flabbergasted wrote
at 10:00:59 on 13 July 2012
Not only is this a complete waste of money for a council that supposedly needs to make cuts yet claims huge expenses for things like "biscuits" and "falling 130,000 fraud" and anything else their wild imaginations can conjure up, they have also wasted money on music and lighting in the subways near to the shopping precinct - which if they did it legally, they will have to be paying a public broadcast fee. Added to that, Tesco got their way despite the 8,000 signatures against them, as most people know, Tesco give huge chunks to councils to get their way. The rents have also increased despite a decrease in security services, yet these are supposed to be not for profit rents (it doesn't take a genius to workout that they are indeed for profit rents, honesty would be the best policy). But more to the point, the fact an employee cannot work out how to switch off a phone shows how inept the average worker they employ is, anyone, including if still alive your elderly grandparents can do this! These people should not be employed in the roles they are. G4S also employed by the council security often let people in who have been specially asked not to be, and don't allow people in who have been asked to be let in. The have put an intercom on the outside of a gate facing a busy road making it difficult for them to hear. And when they do hear, they do not do their job properly. The door is supposed to be automatic once you ring up through the gate intercom and the security have verified the resident wants you there, but no, G4S cannot operate a simple system like this and you have to ring again. If they are in charge of the olympic games, nobody and I mean nobody that they need to keep out (terrorists etc) will be.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 11:29:38 on 12 July 2012
Presumably there will be a documented Business Case for this? Y'know, an assessment of the difficulties social workers were having with their old phones and evidence of how smartphones would improve productivity or efficiency? A cost/benefit analyis?!? Or did they really just go out and blow this amount of money with no assessment..? However much the actual phones cost, it'll be just the tip of the iceberg - the main cost is in the extra information governance, security and IT support needed now social workers can carry around super-sensitive information like *case notes* on their phones.
 
Miss common sense wrote
at 11:29:14 on 12 July 2012
Whoever wrote the comment about not turning the volume off must not have been listening as this is one of the first things that is shown to the staff to familiarise themselves with the phone. It is made clear that the phone is for work and not to be used for downloading games, surfing the internet. Also some people may find 5 minutes is all it takes to learn how to use the phone, but other people are not as technologically savvy and struggle to use them. Also I think you would find that Apple make the Iphone and there is no such thing as a Nokia I-phone.
 
Mr Common Sense wrote
at 08:43:38 on 12 July 2012
Does Mrs Common Sense and Voice of Reason work for Salford Council by any chance? Sounds like someone from HR or Humanegment...
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 08:39:55 on 12 July 2012
I don't have a problem with social workers having mobile phone,but why a £200/£300 phone and whats with the training. For god sake my 9 year old grandson can use one so I would hope a Social worker could find their way around one. Do we know how many mobiles in total the council hand out too staff and the cost of them. I being very sad had a look at the contact numbers for ward councillors. 15/16 only have mobile numbers,fine but if you need to call them and explain something the call could become very expensive. All councillors are given a landline when they are elected for their internet access,so why don't they use this line to make it easy for people to contact them?? Oh silly me,could that be the answer.
 
Mr. Bungle wrote
at 08:39:19 on 12 July 2012
This shower of shite are really taking the piss now . New words for Mr Greedy - Upgradephonerisation , Pisstakeoftaxpayeration ,Peelrulesdeadcity, councilpeelpuppetry.
 
voice of reason wrote
at 19:40:20 on 11 July 2012
Someone gripping cos they think the authority will be able to pin them down - what a shame
 
Mrs Common Sense wrote
at 19:39:51 on 11 July 2012
Firstly, I am assuming that Salford Council has a contract with the provider and therefore gets free upgrades -just like we do - therefore no added cost. Secondly, why didn't the social worker ask how to mute the phone during meetings or look at the instruction manual - I thought social workers were supposed to be intelligent! Thirdly, I assume anyone with sight difficulties is not issued with one of these phones as a reasonable adjustment would need to be made. Lastly - this sounds like someone who does not want to embrace technology and likes a good old moan - I suspect if no training had been offered they would have moaned about that! Get with the 21st century and quit moaning - you have a well paid job - get on with it
 
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